HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — They are parts of our American pastime that go hand in hand: Little League and small-town concession stands.
But in some New Jersey communities, the money is winding up in the hands of suspected thieves, CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported Sunday.
Hasbrouck Heights Little League is like most Little Leagues. It’s not just a baseball team. It’s family. And police said this family was violated by a man and woman who were captured in surveillance photos. They are accused of prying open the door to the concession stand and taking cash and candy.
“I’m mad at them,” one Little Leaguer said when asked how the photos made him feel.
“A little sad and mad at the person,” another player said.
“Estimated to be $1,000 worth damage to the door and a few hundred dollars worth of concession money and they took some candy,” league vice president and coach Neil Peterson said.
Peterson said he was disheartened by the crime and to learn they weren’t the only victims. A concession stand in neighboring Wood-Ridge was also burglarized.
Most of these leagues are run by volunteers and donations.
“Every little bit counts and everything from the concession stand goes right back into the league. So it was disappointing to see someone do that to the kids,” Peterson said.
At least 27 Little League concession stands in six New Jersey counties — Bergen, Passaic, Sussex, Essex, Middlesex and Morris — have been hit since April, police said.
The Morris County Sheriffs Department believes the same people are responsible for all of them.
Police said the hooded man and woman were caught by surveillance cameras as they broke into a concession stand in Woodbridge. Like in the other cases, they took cash, food and beverages.
Camden County police are now trying to figure out if this same couple burglarized a North Camden snack stand on Wednesday, that time also taking kitchen appliances. Surveillance photos show a suspect pushing a rolling freezer to a waiting white getaway truck.
Luckily for Hasbrouck Heights, donors have come forward to replace the damaged door and concessions.
“When you deal with Little League, that’s the community. That’s the nice thing about it. It brings out the good in people,” Peterson said.
Now they’re hoping cops stop the couple before they strike again.